Superfund Research Program

April 2020

U.S. maps showing locations of returning certers at Louisiana State University, University of Kentucky, University of Arizona, Oregon State University, University of Iowa, and Northeastern University, as wel as University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Harvard University, Baylor College of MEdicine, North CArolina State University, and University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Multiproject centers throughout the country bring together interdisciplinary teams to conduct problem-based, solution-oriented research focused on a central environmental public health issue.
(Photo courtesy of SRP)

The Superfund Research Program (SRP) welcomes 11 new and returning multiproject Centers. SRP Centers consist of several projects and cores, designed to address research questions that contribute to the Center's overall research focus. These NIEHS-funded grants are the mainstay of the program, where transdisciplinary teams of scientists and engineers working in different fields tackle complex but targeted problems in environmental health.

In this new grant cycle, returning SRP Centers include Louisiana State University, University of Kentucky, University of Arizona, Oregon State University, University of Iowa, and Northeastern University. Research teams from these Centers continue to make connections between hazardous substances and disease and develop new approaches to detect and reduce exposures.

Two previously funded Centers and three new SRP Centers are bringing fresh scientific perspectives to the program:

  • At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, led by Rebecca Fry, Ph.D., researchers explore geochemical predictors of arsenic contamination, molecular drivers of arsenic-induced diabetes, and interactions with the gut microbiome or obesity that may play a role in arsenic-induced diabetes. They are also developing novel filtration devices for arsenic removal.
  • Researchers at Harvard University, led by Quan Lu, Ph.D., study spatial patterns of exposure and exposure sources and develop new remediation approaches for metals and metal mixtures. They are linking critical windows of exposure and cognitive function later in life using cutting-edge epigenetics approaches.
  • Led by Bhagavatula Moorthy, Ph.D., researchers at Baylor College of Medicine the use ultrasensitive methods to detect polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). They are also studying clinical outcomes that may be associated with early life exposure to PAHs, such as preterm birth, chronic lung disease, and neurocognitive deficits. Finally, they are exploring novel prevention and remediation approaches to reduce the amount and toxicity of PAHs in sediments and soil.
  • At North Carolina State University, researchers led by Carolyn Mattingly, Ph.D., examine the environmental and health effects of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Their work focuses on thyroid- and immune-related health outcomes and will shed light on bioaccumulation of PFAS in aquatic food webs. They are also probing the mechanisms of PFAS adsorption to support remediation efforts.
  • Led by Veena Antony, M.D., researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham study the impact of airborne heavy metals on lung disease and the environment. Specifically, they develop advanced approaches to quantify exposure, probe the link between exposure and asthma in children, and explore the underlying mechanisms by which metals harm the respiratory system. They are also developing novel technologies to clean up heavy metals in the environment.